Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Why Oklahoma Has No Misdemeanor Drug Courts, Even Though The Law Allows Them

Twenty years is a long time to live with a drug addiction, but Rachel Wachel has done it. She tends bar, has a house and a car — and calls herself a functioning addict. “I’m very open and honest about it because what do you do besides try to work with it the best way you can,” she says, exiting an an Oklahoma County courtroom. Wachel’s lawyer is working to get her a suspended sentence for a misdemeanor drug possession charge. She’s addicted to opiate painkillers and says she takes half a pill...

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Quinton Chandler

Before Oklahoma was a state dozens of makeshift towns sprung from its red dirt to make room for hungry settlers drawn by a fantastic oil boom and promises of a new start. Today Black gold is proving to have the same seductive power, but in this case oil isn’t the only commodity people will pull up stakes for. Crowds are pouring into a town in Northwest Oklahoma, looking for jobs created by the oil, natural gas, and wind industries. But just like 100 years ago there may not be enough room for all of them…

Woodward, Oklahoma has a cycle. Monday through Thursday its busting at the seams and over the weekend the town deflates like a tire losing air. It’s Friday and people are on the way out. Lines of cars and trucks pile up at every stoplight. One of the local gas stations can have a car at every pump any time of day. And anywhere you go there’s trucks from Chesapeake energy, so and so’s pipeline, and such and such drilling.

Comedian Bill Hader is adept onstage and doing live performances. But he's scared to death of standup.

He says he remembers watching Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special, Bring the Pain, and thinking, "I don't know how people do that."

"I need a character," Hader tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I need people out there with me."

So Hader has stuck with sketch comedy — where he has been wildly successful.

Flickr: comedynose

The Affordable Care Act takes another stab at fixing healthcare for all Americans.  But, one change buried deep in the hundreds of pages of sections and subtitles could make a big difference for one specific group of Oklahomans.

“I’m David Touhty, I’m the Chief Development officer with the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act is going to help us expand and really bring health care into the 21st century."

Next: Broncho

Jun 12, 2012

Chesapeake Energy CEO In Hot Seat Today

Jun 8, 2012

The NBA finals aren't the only big news in Oklahoma City.

This morning, shareholders of Chesapeake Energy, the natural gas driller at the center of the nation's hydraulic fracturing controversies, are meeting in Oklahoma City, where the company is headquartered. But the buzz at this gathering won't be about fracking or basketball. It will be about Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake's controversial CEO.

T. Boone Pickens Owns Drake on Twitter

May 31, 2012
Planet Money

Canadian rapper Drake boastfully tweeted "The first million is the hardest".

This was followed by a tweet from T. Boone Pickens, who issues a mic-drop in the form of a tweet with, "The first billion is a helluva lot harder".

Next: John Fullbright

May 30, 2012

Hailing from Okemah, Okla., with a serious talent for writing Americana music, John Fullbright is often compared to Woody Guthrie. But Fullbright isn't riding on the coattails of the great folk artists who came before him; in fact, he describes himself as a songwriter, not just a musician, because he's determined to play his own music.

Massive Storm Leaves Frozen Footprint Across U.S.

May 23, 2012

Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. were left shivering in Arctic-like temperatures a day after a 2,000-mile-long winter storm barreled through, dumping record or near-record amounts of snow, downing power lines and caving in roofs.

Wind chills dipped to nearly 30 below zero in some parts early Thursday as people began digging out from the sprawling system. It unloaded as much as 2 feet of snow, crippled airports and stranded drivers in downtown Chicago. Much of Texas was under a hard freeze warning Wednesday; light snowfall stubbornly lingered into the night in Maine.

In Central U.S., Fears Storms Will Continue

May 23, 2012

More than a dozen people died after violent storms swept across Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, unleashing tornadoes and high winds just days after a massive twister razed much of a Missouri city.

In Oklahoma, hardest hit by the storms that struck Tuesday night and early Wednesday, officials said nine people, including a child, were killed when several twisters touched down in Oklahoma City and its suburbs. At least 70 other people were in critical condition.

The Agony Of The Heat

May 23, 2012

The eastern U.S. felt the full, blazing brunt Thursday of a heat wave that began in the Plains and has strained tempers and electricity grids from Tulsa to Boston amid record temperatures and stifling humidity.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Education News

OKLAHOMA STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The State Department of Education surveyed thousands of former teachers about why they left the profession, and what it would take to get them back. The survey results, released Monday, suggest most quit because of low pay.

When asked the open-ended question, “Why did you quit teaching in Oklahoma Public Schools?” 34 percent of respondents cited pay or a better opportunity.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kids are scattered around the preschool classroom at Zarrow International School in Tulsa. It’s loud and chaotic, but it’s organized. Some students paint pictures; others write out the letters of the alphabet. The small group sitting around teacher Irene Castell is learning to count and compare numbers.

Castell says many kids would not learn these skills if they stayed home, or went to daycare.

“We always hear back from teachers of kindergartners, ‘We can always tell who’s been to pre-K,’” she says.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of about 20 parents asked Oklahoma City Public School Board members on Monday to kick former OKC Mayor Kirk Humphreys off the board of a local charter school.

Humphreys recently equated homosexuality to pedophilia while on a Sunday morning talk show, and many John Rex Charter School parents feel his comments were homophobic, and disqualify him from serving on the charter’s board of directors.

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The Spy plays independent, local, and alternative music and features more than 20 unique specialty shows.
A weekly two-hour show of Oklahoma music, from across the state. The show opens a window of Oklahoma music to the rest of the world.